Here are a few of my favorite summer time things...







3rd Trip in June - Chi Town

June was an eventful month for me. 3 trips, 1 dental surgery, & the busiest month at work I've had in long time.

My last trip of the month was a VA conference in Chicago for one of the studies I coordinate. Lucky me! I HEART Chicago! The only problem is I've only visited while attending meetings for work. This gives little time to do all the exploring and activities this amazing city has to offer. For the short amount of time I've had there, I really try to maximize my free time.
This year my hotel was right downtown (no more 45 minute blue train rides for me). I was close to Michigan Ave (the ever so Magnificent Mile!!!!), Navy Pier, Grant Park, etc, etc. I swear downtown Chicago is close to everything!

I love shopping and Michigan Ave is where it's at! Blocks and blocks of my favorite shops and best of all, stores we don't have in Utah, namely my beloved, Crate & Barrel. I also made sure to hit up H&M, Lucy (best workout wear!), Fileene's Basement, The Limited, Room & Board, and Trader Joes just to name a few.
I was so happy when my friend Ralph, a native of Chicago, suggested I check out the Taste of Chicago, an annual festival in Grant Park. I had no idea the extent of this event. Over 50 food vendors from local Chicago eateries and live music from bands I've payed to listen to in Salt Lake.

Friday night, Gary (the doctor I work with), and I walked down to check out the festival. We were blown away. I think every Chicago resident was in attendance. It was packed. We bought food/beverage tickets and made our way through the crowds. Gary thought it would be a good idea to check out every booth before making our food choice. Big Mistake! Too many choices! I finally decided on Chicago style pizza, hush puppies, and a samosa, oh yeah, and a lemon ice for dessert (you can purchase small, taster size portions at every booth, hence my variety of choices). Gary ended up with a prime rib quesadilla, samosa, Irish eggroll (corned beef & cabbage in a wonton) and half my hush puppies. That night the Gap Band was playing. I was a little bummed because Counting Crows were playing the following night (for FREE!) and they are one of my favorite bands. Other nights included Barenaked Ladies, The Wallflowers, Ne-Yo, Guster, and Buddy Guy. Pretty amazing line up for free concerts. Needless to say, I left full & happy.

Oh yeah, the conference was nice too - blah, blah, blah (I'm sure you don't want to hear about joint counts, data safety monitoring boards and biostatistics of Veterans with RA).

(this is the only photo I have of me in Chicago )

I'm On A Boat

Lake Powell 2009
Lake Powell Trip #43
That's my rough guesstimate. I've been going to Lake Powell every summer since I was a toddler, and some years we make it down to the lake a few times. This trip is always by far my most anticipated trip of the year. Not only do I love boating on Lake Powell, but I love the entire Lake Powell crew. Our Lake Powell crew is a core group of 16 - four families (& 4 boats). Swans. Cooks. Bitners. Georges. We've been making this trip together as far back as I can remember.
This group has since expanded to a whopping 30-40 depending on the year.

We've also evolved from camping out on beaches and sleeping under the stars to pulling off the lake and staying in Page, Arizona in air conditioned rooms with showers. None the less, I've grown to love this style of boating too. Each year, we make sure to bombard our favorite restaurants and annoy the hell out of other patrons and staff with our enormous group. We never miss an evening at:
-the Dam Bar
-The Cove
-Ken's Steak House
-Antelope Point Restaurant & Marina (a new favorite)

Unfortunately for me, my husband is not much of a boater. He's not a swimmer and is not especially fond of the heat. He prefers to sit this one out Too bad, he doesn't know what he's missing! On the other hand - this is lucky for Ashley! She loves Lake Powell and has been part of our group for the last 4 or 5 years.

This year was different than past years in that the weather was a little cooler and some days cloudy and overcast. The water seemed to be freezing compared to normal. Most years I get my most summer sun on the lake, but this year I enjoyed the cooler air and my hoodie at night.

Dustin played in his 2nd annual guest performance at Ken's. The last couple years he's gotten up on stage and played with the house band. He follows along with anything and everything they throw at him. It's absolutely amazing to watch. (Next year I'll be sure to record it).

This year, Ashley played too! Tambourine that is.

*the black & white pics & the panoramas were taken by my brother with his new camera. i think they turned out awesome!

Trip to Reno

The beginning of June we took a trip to Reno to visit Cardy's brother & his family. Our nephew, Fernando (formerly known as Little Nando) graduated from high school so we decided to take a quick road trip to join in the festivities (if you know the Godina's - you know there's always a reason to throw a party!).
Let's just say, the drive to Reno is one I don't think I'll be taking many times in my life. It is a long...ass...ride. Of course, in pure Godina fashion, we left Salt Lake around 4:00...4 hours behind schedule (I'm passing the blame elsewhere - in these cases, I'm still a true Swan at heart). For those of you who don't know, Reno is about an 8-9 hour drive from Salt Lake. I'm not much of a road trip kinda girl, I much prefer travel by air but what I do love most about being confined in a small space for that long is the one on one time I get with Cardy. It's not often I don't have to compete with the TV, internet or games. For 8 solid hours we listened to music, talked about current events, discussed our future, and laughed...a lot. I fed him road treats as we sailed down the longest, straightest highway I've ever seen.

Needless to say, we made it to Reno in one piece (next time you see me, or my car, ask me about the mini tornado), tired, but excited to see the family (of course, they were all asleep when we finally arrived). Cardy's sisters had driven out the day before and Cardy's mom, our nieces and Josephine (Bea's best friend) had taken the train (apparently quite an experience). We missed the actual graduation which happened a few days before we got there but Fernando and Michelle threw an amazing graduation party for Nando. Cardy's family cooked all day, preparing amazing homemade chile verde, rice and beans - I love my Mexican in-laws!
We had such a great time and although we were able to stay only a few days, I would never miss an opportunity to spend time with family.